Montreal, January 22, 2016 (Sportcom) – Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard had the best performance among the Canadian judokas competing this Friday at the Havana Grand Prix, in Cuba. The Saint-Hubert native finished just off the podium in the Under 57 kg division on the tournament’s opening day.
She was kept off the podium by Brazil’s Rafaela Silva, who took home a bronze medal. It was not the first time the two athletes had locked horns – in one of their previous fights, in the semi-final round of the Toronto PanAms last July, Beauchemin-Pinard came out on top and went on to win the competition’s silver medal. This time, however, a yuko tipped the scale in favour of the Brazilian, 16th in the world.
“Catherine’s final was going really well until she made a mistake with her attack,” said coach Sasha Mehmedovic. “She was dominating the fight with her gripping, but she got countered by the Brazilian for a yuko. Catherine was not able to get the score back.”
The Canadian athlete, seventh in the world, received a bye from the opening round. She then defeated Cuban Aliuska Ojeda by ippon, and lost by yuko to German Viola Waechter.
In repechage, she was up against Polish Arleta Podolak, a match she won by waza-ari.
In the Under 52 kg, Ecaterina Guica started her day out with an ippon over Cuban Yurisleidy Hernandez Iglesias. The Montrealer, 29th, then succumbed to Germany’s Mareen Kraeh, eighth, who would go on to win the gold.
On the men’s side, it was a short day for Sergio Pessoa (Under 66 kg). After earning a bye from the opening round, the Brazilian transplant to Quebec, 57th, lost by ippon to British Ashley McKenzie, 21st. “Sergio lost his first round in the opening minute of the match,” said Mehmedovic. “It will be tough for him to finish the qualification, but we believe in him!”
“Today was not the best start for team Canada,” said the coach. “Catherine was the only one who managed to fight for a medal. This was an important tournament for the Olympic qualification. The next stop in the tour will be Paris, where the athletes can try to gain valuable points.”
The tournament continues on Saturday. Étienne Briand and Arthur Margelidon are the Maple Leafers competing in the Under 73 kg class, while Stéfanie Tremblay will be hitting the mat in the Under 63 kg.
The Havana Grand Prix is the first key competition in the last stretch for Canadian judokas to rake in points towards qualifying for the Rio Games. They have until May 30 to earn points and work their way up the world ranking.
Written by Sportcom for Judo Canada